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  1. #1
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    Default Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    The Question:
    Which is better for plowing 2 miles of gravel road a few times each winter?
    1. 75HP heavy tractor 2WD
    2. 40HP medium tractor 4WD

    More details:
    I am building a house on 100 acres in the woods in Northern California ( when the smoke clears! ).
    I need a tractor for moving rocks and logs and dirt and pushing slash around and digging trenches etc.
    The most important thing I need to do with it is plow 2 miles of gravel road in the winter, we get around 4-5feet so it's not like the frozen northland or anything but still prevents us from going to town.
    I found a great deal on a Massey Ferguson 50E Industrial tractor with a 4-1 loader and a box scraper. My only reservation is that it's 2WD. If I was to buy some other tractor I could only afford something around 40HP but it would be 4WD.

    Thanks!
    -Jedon

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Charlesaf3's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    1,964
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    Richmond VA & Martha's Vineyard, People's Republik of Massachusetts
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    Kubota B3030, Kubota M59 TLB

    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    I'd guess the 4wd with weighted tires - traction is usually more important than horsepower.

    Might consider a snowblower too?

    Others will hopefull weigh in with more experience.
    ----------------------------------------
    Charles

    Kubota B3030
    Kubota M59 w/hydro thumb
    Neat stuff - ATI Preseeder, Hydraulic PHD, Wallenstein BX62r Chipper, Millonzi Grapple, CA 4n1 Bucket. Delta Hook Rear QA system.
    Too many other random attachments to list (or to own, per my wife) and a really bad tool addiction. But at least I haven't bought a dump truck or bulldozer. Yet.

  3. #3
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    Go for the four wheel drive with chains.

    Just for interest many parts of the Frozen North are considered desert as little precipitation falls!
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    Thanks,
    I know it's all about traction, but I am unclear about say a 4000lb 4WD vs a 7000lb 2WD, power aside the weight alone might be a deciding factor?
    Hardly anybody seems to use blowers here due to the high water content in the snow, they call it Sierra Cement. It tends to destroy blowers pretty quickly.
    I was just going to put a blade on it for now and see how that works first. My neighbor has a 40HP Tyr and says he's going to get a blower for it, I look forward to seeing how that works out for him but I need my setup before him so I can't use it make a decision.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    Hereç—´ a local ad for it: MASSEY-FERGUSON : Nevada County Trader

  6. #6
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    Mar 2008
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    Ottawa, Ontario

    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    You'll be fine with the 2wd. You can add chains to it if needed, but with weight on the rear you should be OK.

    Just keep in mind that 75hp is a big tractor to be running just for plowing snow / moving rocks, etc. A 40hp will do the same job just fine and save you gas money.

  7. #7
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    5,222
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    SC
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    Kubota L4400 4wd w/LA 703 FEL

    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    For pushing something with a loader and for better traction and control I'd go for the 40hp 4wd without a second thought. It is true that a big powerful 2wd gets great traction on the rear and with the added hp it might could pull the little 40 hp around like a toy.

    A 4wd gives you the advantage of much better steering capability when traction is poor. It also gives you much better breaking if there are any hills or grades invloved.

    A tractor that size could also get a bit unweildy.

    I'm sure plenty of folks will tune in and say they've been plowing snow with a big 2wd all their lives and its just fine. I don't doubt it. I just think the 4wd 40 would be better.

    Disclosure note: I've never driven a tractor of any sort in the snow.
    George
    South Carolina

    The size of government is inversely proprotional to the degree of freedom it affords.

    "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate

  8. #8
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    6,515
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    Northern California-Tehama Co.
    Tractor
    2008 Mahindra 5525, 1964 MF-135 diesel, 1951 Farmall Super A, 1951 Minneapolis Moline BF, 1945 Oliver 60 Row Crop, 1949 JD B widefront

    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    Quote Originally Posted by jedon
    The Question:
    Which is better for plowing 2 miles of gravel road a few times each winter?
    1. 75HP heavy tractor 2WD
    2. 40HP medium tractor 4WD

    More details:
    I am building a house on 100 acres in the woods in Northern California ( when the smoke clears! ).
    I need a tractor for moving rocks and logs and dirt and pushing slash around and digging trenches etc.
    The most important thing I need to do with it is plow 2 miles of gravel road in the winter, we get around 4-5feet so it's not like the frozen northland or anything but still prevents us from going to town.
    I found a great deal on a Massey Ferguson 50E Industrial tractor with a 4-1 loader and a box scraper. My only reservation is that it's 2WD. If I was to buy some other tractor I could only afford something around 40HP but it would be 4WD.

    Thanks!
    -Jedon
    If 2WD is your only reservation, go with the 50E for the weight advantage and get yourself a good set of chains for snow plowing. With 100 acres on which to work and play you'll find uses for the extra hp real quick.

    I started in June05 with a new 21 hp kubota B7510HST (4WD, 21 hp engine, 17 hp pto) and an LA302 FEl (4ft wide bucket) which got me through the house construction phase on my 10 acre place (flat pasture land). In July 06 I added a 1964 Mf-135 diesel (2WD, no FEL) as a project tractor to learn tractor maintenance by restoring an old, but runnning, tractor. In March08 I traded the 7510 for a new Mahindra 5525 (2WD, gear tranny, 55 hp engine, 45 hp pto, 5200lb without the FEL and loaded rear tires) with the ML250 FEL (6ft bucket, 2900 lb lift capacity at the bucket pivot pins). Need more hp and tractor weight for plowing my 7 acre hayfield.

    My advice is buy as much tractor as you can as soon as you can. $7K seems like a good price if that 50E is a clean tractor (no missing parts, no leaks, engine starts and runs OK, no blue smoke, gauges work, pto works, 3pt hitch works, smooth shifting, FEL works OK--not sluggish) with low hours (a few thousand or less).

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Aug 2007
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    2,352
    Location
    Wayne County Pa.
    Tractor
    Massey Ferguson model 85, Allis-Chalmers WD-45

    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    You will have better control of the 2wd in the snow. When plowing snow, much of the steering is done with the brakes. You put some good hog ring chains on that thing and there almost won't be snow you couldn't plow. I plowed my driveway with a JD model 50 for years, and during the blizzards, I would plow out the neighbors driveways because their little 30 horse 4wd's couldn't push it. They would nibble at it like hitting a boulder with a chipping hammer. I could push a full blades worth. The only thing that would stop me was that the blade wasn't high enough.

    I would buy the old Massey and put a snow blade on it for the winter. Put a drawbar thru a 55 gallon drum and fill it with cement, lift it with the 3 point hitch for weight oin the rear tires, then have some fun!

    Anyway, if you can find a 40 hp 4wd for $7,000 that is in better shape than the Massey, I'd be surprised.
    Knowing is not enough, you must apply.
    Willing is not enough, you must do.
    Bruce Lee

  10. #10
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    May 2008
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    Default Re: Larger 2WD vs Smaller 4WD for plowing snow

    Thanks for all the advice, the 50E is now $6K! It does have one small hydrolic leak near the front loader arm according to the owner. I'll go check it out tomorrow.

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